Jonathan Groh has been with Vallourec for nearly 10 years. After receiving his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University, he joined VAM USA as an R&D project engineer.
Now, as a Senior Product Application Engineer, he occupies a key role, ensuring customers have the best connections for their projects
I’m a liaison, connecting people both across Vallourec teams and between companies. My aim is to ensure customers have the best connections for their specific applications, either by advising them on the most ideal existing products or by helping them develop new ones.
To do this, I wear a lot of different hats. I’m tasked with communicating the customers’ needs to R&D, various sales teams, and everyone at VAM. It’s my job to advise and support customers as they select and certify their connections to get their projects underway.
I was drawn to Vallourec from the start, because it has the feel of a small company, even though it’s a global business. Here in my hometown of Houston, our team is a few hundred people, and it’s close-knit and collaborative. But I still have the regular opportunity to work with the larger Vallourec community around the world.
I started out in the R&D department, which offered endless opportunities to put my knowledge to good use within the Oil & Gas industry. I saw immediately just how much of a priority research and development really is for the company. Vallourec’s innovative solutions set the Group apart from its competition. The strength of R&D makes us a leader in the field.
This dedication to R&D has advanced the company’s business and also enabled my own growth as an engineer. Thanks to my experience in both my roles here, I’m the North America Product Leader for offshore VAM® connections.
I have also had the opportunity to hone other areas of expertise. For example, I’ve gained a deep knowledge of the requirements laid out by the US government’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). All this serves me well in such a technical and research-driven role.
I appreciate the trust Vallourec put in me from the start. My job gives me opportunities to work with experts and to share my knowledge. For instance, I wrote a paper for the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), the world’s largest O&G forum early in my career. Paper that I also published and presented at the WorldOil HPHT. Though I was relatively junior at the time, and in the process of transitioning to my current role, my team supported me as I worked to publish my ideas. Sometimes, I’ll be talking to someone else in the O&G industry and they make a reference to my paper without knowing that I’m the author. It’s rewarding to know I’ve contributed to my field in such a meaningful way.
"Sometimes, I’ll be talking to someone else in the O&G industry and they make a reference to my paper without knowing that I’m the author. It’s rewarding to know I’ve contributed to my field in such a meaningful way "
I would say openness is key. It’s essential for me to always be communicating with stakeholders. This way, if we run into any hurdles in the testing or development processes, we can put our heads together to get past them. Also, I need to be accessible as an expert when helping customers understand the technical aspects of our connections. Twice a year, I help teach a connections essentials class for our clients on the essentials of Vallourec’s products, covering subjects from connections and casing, to testing and design constraints.
I really enjoy going rock climbing with my friends in the R&D department. As I said, here in Houston we’re a small group that really does like hanging out with each other. And speaking of family, I recently became a parent, so that’s my current adventure and most of what I do for fun these days!